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Gillian Lester

Dean of the Faculty of Law and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law

Gillian Lester

Dean of the Faculty of Law and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law

Gillian Lester is Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. She joined the Law School in 2015 as its 15th dean.

As a nationally recognized authority on employment law and policy, Lester’s research focuses on exploring workplace intellectual property law, public finance policy, and the design of social insurance laws and regulations.

Lester began her teaching career in 1994 at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, where she later became a full professor in 1999. In 2006, Lester joined the Berkeley Law faculty, where—in addition to serving as acting dean from 2012 to 2014—she was the Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of Law and the Werner and Mimi Wolfen Research Professor. Lester also co-directed the Berkeley Center for Health, Economic and Family Security and was the Associate Dean for the J.D. Program and Curricular Planning.

She is the author of numerous academic books and articles and is a co-author of Employment Law: Cases and Materials, Sixth Edition, one of the leading casebooks in the field. Lester is also a member of the Executive Committee of the American Association of Law Schools, a member of the American Law Institute, and she served as an adviser to the ALI Restatement of Employment Law.

Lester has held external appointments at Harvard Law School as the Sidley Austin Visiting Professor and at the Georgetown University Law Center as a Sloan Fellow and visiting professor. She also held short-term visiting appointments at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, University of Southern California Gould School of Law, University of Chicago Law School, and Radzyner School of Law Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel.

Lester holds degrees from Stanford Law School and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Law Review. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia.

  • J.S.D., Stanford University, 1998
  • LL.B., University of Toronto, 1990
  • B.Sc., University of British Columbia, 1986
Areas of Expertise
  • Employment law and policy
  • Contracts
  • Philosophical Foundations of Labour Law, (Oxford U. Press, 2018) (with Hugh Collins & Virginia Mantouvalou)
  • Employment Law Cases and Materials, (with Willborn, Schwab & Burton), LexisNexis, 2017, (6th edition)
  • Family Security Insurance: A New Foundation for Economic Security, Workplace Flexibility, 2010, and Berkeley Center for Health, Economic and Family Security, 2010
  • Jumping the Queue: An Inquiry into the Legal Treatment of Students with Disabilities, (with Mark Kelman), Harvard University Press, 1997
  • “Age Discrimination and Labour Law in the United States,” (Mia Ronnmar and Ann Numhauser-Henning eds.), Age Discrimination in Labour Law, Kluwer Law International, 2015
  • “Keep Government Out of My Medicare”: The Search for Popular Support of Taxes and Social Spending, (Michael Sherraden and Marion Crain eds.), Working and Living in the Shadow of Economic Fragility, Oxford University Press, 2013
  • “Can Joe the Plumber Support Redistribution? Law, Social Preferences, and Sustainable Policy Design,” Tax Law Review, 2011
  • “Beyond Collective Bargaining: Modern Unions and Social Solidarity,” (Brian Langille and Guy Davidov, eds.), The Idea of Labor Law, Cambridge University Press, 2011
  • “Restrictive Covenants and Choice of Laws: An American Perspective,” Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal, 2010
  • “A Defense of Paid Family Leave,” Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, 2005
  • “Unemployment Insurance and Wealth Redistribution,” UCLA Law Review, 2001
  • “Restrictive Covenants, Employee Training, and the Limits of Transaction-Cost Analysis,” 76 Indiana Law Journal, 2001
  • “Careers and Contingency,” Stanford Law Review, 1998

View an extended list of Gillian Lester’s publications:

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